The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division has given former Makati mayor Elenita Binay permission to travel to Tokyo for a vacation.
Elenita, wife of Vice President Jejomar Binay, had asked the court to let her travel to Japan from December 18 to 23.
In a two-page resolution, the Fourth Division imposed several conditions in granting the request and Mrs. Binay was told to deposit a P90,000 travel bond to ensure her faithful compliance with terms and conditions.
“[A]ny material misrepresentation made in the accused’s Motion for Leave to Travel Abroad shall be punished as contempt of this court and shall be dealt with accordingly,” it held.
“That she undertakes to abide faithfully with all her undertakings therein, such that any violation of the terms and conditions contained in this resolution shall be sufficient ground for this court to order the forfeiture of the travel bond, as well as to cause the issuance of a warrant for her arrest,” it added.
The court said she shall leave the country not earlier than December 18 and return not later than December 23, after which she shall present herself before the Division Clerk of Court with photocopies of her passport.
Should she fail to return, the Sandiganbayan will give her notice of subsequent proceedings which if she fails to attend shall be deemed as waiver of her right to be present.
In the Fourth Division and Fifth Division, Mrs. Binay is facing graft charges over the allegedly overpriced purchase of office partitions and furniture for the New Makati City Hall Building.
She needs the nod of all three divisions of the court handling cases against her.
Earlier the Fifth Division also granted her travel plea, while she has not made a request to the Third Division where she has not been read charges pending appeal.
A court can resolve such a travel request only when the accused has come under its jurisdiction through an arraignment.
Mrs. Binay’s scheduled arraignment last November was reset for January 29 next year.
In the Third Division, she was leveled graft and malversation charges over the allegedly anomalous purchase of medical equipment and supplies and allegedly overpriced purchase of hospital beds for Ospital ng Makati when she was Makati mayor.
Mrs. Binay is questioning before the Supreme Court (SC) the case of the allegedly anomalous purchase of hospital beds revived by the Office of the Special Prosecutor early this year.
She had expressed intention to also challenge before the SC the case involving the medical equipment and supplies and will also raise the issues of the “Ombudsman’s unwarranted review of the final and executory cases against her… unwarranted review of the dismissal of the criminal charges against her, without any notice and opportunity to be heard, and inordinate delay in resolving the criminal complaints.”
Last June, the court’s Fourth Division and Fifth Division allowed her to go on a vacation to Hawaii but she refused to be read charges in the Third Division, which held that she could not leave unless she is arraigned as required of all cases thus prompting the defense to drop the travel request.